19 July 2020
This Blog takes the place of the printed Weekly Sheet for now
Our guest preacher this Sunday is Andy Banks of Scripture Union New Zealand!
Andy writes, “My passion is encouraging a ‘faith lived out’ and part of my role with SUNZ is encouraging churches to mobilise their young people into urban mission on their own doorstep, using our YOUTHSERVE programme.
I began in ministry as a youth worker for two Liverpool churches for seven years and have spent the last 18 years on the staff of Scripture Union: six years with Scripture Union England & Wales and twelve years now with Scripture Union New Zealand.”
He’s also a Liverpool supporter, and it was going so well! We look forward to having him with us this Sunday
After Church Refreshments
After church tea & coffee will be on Zoom from around 11:45am – come and join us virtually, it would be lovely to see each other again.
We have now implemented a Waiting Room on Zoom for extra security.
St Mary’s is open for Private Individual Prayer this week during the times below. Please note that the days/times change each week in order to allow more people access. We have the correct measures in place that allow us to offer you a safe place to spend some time in private prayer. It has been fantastic to see people face to face over the past three weeks and to have a ‘distanced’ chat with them! Please do come in confidence if you would like to.
The PCC unanimously agreed not to reopen for Public Worship in July and are considering August in line with the current guidance from the Church of England & the Diocese. The guidance for the legal side of not reopening for Public Worship and the dispensation available is explained in this Guidance from the Church of England.
In the meantime, we will continue to offer Private Prayer sessions at St Mary’s and stream our services through July and August. I know not reopening in August (if that’s the decision of the PCC) will be disappointing for some people but we have to consider the safety of people entering a very restricted space. I will keep you informed on the decision of the PCC in due course.
With all God’s blessings, Revd Mike.
The latest Information on the Reopening of our Churches and Church Hall
A number of queries have been raised following the new government and Church of England guidance about the reopening of church buildings for public worship, in particular how the government and Church guidance is clear that this can only be done when it is safe to do so, and the requirement of the Canons for there to be public worship every Sunday.
My view is that the Canons are like the skeleton in the body; they need to be strong and tough so that the body can thrive, but the skeleton is not the whole body. The Canons remain and are there for our good and the good of the whole church. They were not designed or are able to cover every circumstance of the Church’s life; they are not the muscles, the flesh, or the bloodstream, and without the Holy Spirit they are dead. As the guidelines make clear, the priority is safety, and I want to make it clear that if anyone asks for my direction in relation to longer-term delay in the opening of buildings for public worship my view is that we dishonour the intention of the Canons unless we open safely, and I will be very sympathetic to the incumbent and PCC as I make that call.
I hope this is helpful and enables us all to balance permissive and prescriptive well. Of course, in the Lord’s mercy, so much more has been given to us over these last weeks, especially with those who have joined our worship online. I am praying that as a diocese, we don’t miss what God has been giving to us in the responsibility we now have to reopen safely. Perhaps the time of July and August will help us in this preparing for this next stage and enable us to keep learning from what we have been through.
Can I repeat so many thanks to everyone for the resilience and endurance (even when it may have felt anything but) over these last weeks and reassert the recent message in the pastoral letter about rest, holiday and sabbath.
With love in Christ
- Private Prayer in Church: we are pleased to say that St Mary’s is now open for Private Prayer. We have implemented Social Distancing and other Measures for the safety of all who enter. There are restrictions in place and we only have 9 pews available, one per household.
- Public Worship is permissible in church buildings from 4 July. However, due to the size and layout of St Mary’s the PCC have agreed that we will not be open again on a Sunday just yet and at least until the beginning of August and maybe September. We are workng within government guidance to reopen in a safe and secure way, please bear with us.
- Funerals are now permissible in churches and we will conduct them at St Mary’s on request. Funerals in church buildings are severely restricted at the moment. Immediate family only are allowed and no hymns may be sung. Please discuss options with a Funeral Director to see what’s best for your family and loved one. We continue to conduct funerals at the Graveside and the Crematorium.
- Weddings are permissible in churches from 4 July. They are limited to 30 people in total (including the minister) and hymn singing or an organist is not permitted at the moment.
From 4 July, baptisms can go ahead providing appropriate steps are taken to minimise risk and are limited to 30 people including the minister. During the coming weeks, Polly will be in touch with all those who had Baptisms cancelled to rearrange dates. We will be conducting Baptisms outside of the main services. We will not be taking any new bookings at the moment until we have rescheduled those that were cancelled. It will be 2021 before we take new bookings. Please see the CofE guidance on baptisms for more information.
- The Church Hall is closed to any public access. We are working towards reopening the Church Hall which will be September at the earliest, we are currently assessing the latest government guidance.
- St Luke’s, worship and lettings, presents us with significant issues, again we are assessing the guidance.
This month we have a Ministry Letter from Revd Malc, articles from both of our Wardens, the Rose Queen, LAG & MU, Di & Mike Carter plus loads more. What are you waiting for? Head over and take a look!
You can send items for future editions to email@example.com
The Midweek Get Together
Each week Revd Mike invites you to join with him on Zoom for a get-together.
This week 22 July: Gospel of the Kingdom. In the story of Jesus, we are invited to see that even the most unwelcome and tragic events cannot thwart God’s plan to restore our world. For security, preregistration is required please Click Here to Register
Funerals this past week
Please keep their families in your prayers.
A message from Revd Mike.
May I thank everyone who has kept their giving going during the past 3 months, it has been a challenging time and also challenging financially. From a church perspective, most of our outgoings remain the same whether the buildings are open or closed, so the challenge has been keeping the cash flow going to cover these costs. I am grateful to those who have been able to give extra and have given extra to the church.
Handling cash and cheques has caused us an issue during the pandemic and will continue to do so. Cash as we’ve not been able to allow anyone to process cash giving during this time, not that we’ve had much given in this way and cheques mean me having to visit the bank with them.
Joy & Sue attended an online Webinar about encouraging and managing giving during this time which advised that we should encourage people to move away from giving via cash & cheques and ask them to give via online or phone banking.
If you normally give via the plate each Sunday you can give securely via Give a Little by following the link below. If you’d like to give via online banking, which means we don’t lose the Fees, the details are below. You can set this up on your own online or phone banking unfortunately, we can’t process paper forms at this time.
Thank you for your support. Mike (Rector)
News From The Foodbanks
Trust you are all keeping well, here’s our monthly data for you to share with your congregations.
We fed 294 people in April with 2,646 meals and had 2,139.79kgs of food donated. Compare this to last year we fed 125 people with 1,125 meals and had 1,760.78kgs of food donated.
We are steadily busy and are able to meet requests for food.
Our shortages include tins of potatoes, vegetables, fruit, sandwich meats, meat pies, custard, rice pudding, pasta, long grain rice and sugar.
If you are able to bring items to our rear gates, we are open Mon- Fri 10-3. (Closed Friday 8th May) If you’re unable to drop off, we able to collect by ringing our office 01270 586186 option 1.
Please continue to hold us up in prayer whether in your Zoom services or in private prayer, we need them!
Cheryl Wykes & Tracey Humphries
St. Paul’s Centre, Hightown. Crewe. CW1 3BY
Tel: 01270 586186